Monday, July 30, 2012

Tim Keller on Contextualization

The other day I came across Tim Keller's book Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City, which features three chapters on contextualization.  Chapter 10 is called "Active Contextualization," and is essentially a printed version of Keller's lecture that I posted about here.   I haven't read the rest of the book, so I can't comment on the other two chapters about contextualization, but Chapter 10 is definitely worth a read.  In it Keller discusses how to practically approach the process of contextualizing the Gospel in any society, whether one's own birth culture, another society, or even a different generation.  Although Keller's ministry context is Manhattan, the points that he makes in this chapter could be applied to any place or culture, western or nonwestern.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Art as Culture: Chapter 2 Review

Papua New Guinean artist Fabian Paino carves the wooden part of a Tatanua Mask.

Chapter Two of Evelyn Payne Hatcher's Art as Culture is titled "The Geographical Dimension."  The chapter consists of two parts: the first is a worldwide survey of traditional cultures and the physical environments in which they live, with an emphasis on the art forms of each society.  The second (and shorter) part is called "Art and Environment," which explores how physical environments may affect indigenous culture and visual art forms.  The first section is far too short to be of much value, though it might provide a beginning point for further research.

The second section is much more interesting.  Hatcher attempts to summarize various ideas about the relationship of the physical environment to the form and imagery of indigenous visual art.  She emphasizes three main points:

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Buddhist Sand-Mandala Demo in Asheville, NC

For those of you in the Asheville area, there's an opportunity this week to see a Buddhist sand-mandala being created at Urban Dharma NC, for the new Buddhist Temple and Tibetan Ritual-art Gallery's Grand Opening.  The sand-mandala's creation will be taking place daily from 7/16 to 7/20 (10 a.m. – 8 p.m.).  The event is free and open to everyone.  After the mandala has been completed, it will be placed in an elaborate shrine for viewing, and then ritually destroyed at 2:30 pm on Sunday, 7/22, to symbolize the Buddhist doctrinal belief in the transitory nature of material life.  Urban Dharma NC is located at 29 Page Ave. in Asheville.

Since I was unaware of this event, I haven't prepared a post on Buddhist sand-mandalas (yet), but in the meantime there's always the Wikipedia article.

Here is a time-lapse video showing the creation of a sand-mandala:

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Christian Art Scene in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Karel Steenbrink over at Relindonesia posted a story about a farewell lecture by Professor Volker Küster of The Theological College of Kampen in Denmark.  The lecture (and accompanying booklet), The Christian Art Scene in Yogyakarta, focuses on five Javanese Christian artists: Bagong Kussudiardjo, Hendarto, Hari Santosa, Dopo Yeihan and Wisnu Sasongko.  I hadn't heard of all of them, though I'd seen examples of some their work.

One whose work I'd never seen was Hendarto, and the examples that I've found so far, I really like.  He was born in 1951 and was a Muslim convert to Catholicism.  I really like his expressive lines and colors.  His work reminds me of a combination of Nyoman Darsane and Sawai Chinnawong.  

Adam and Eve

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

More thoughts on Chapter 1 of Art as Culture

Ethiopian Icon: Christ in Glory with Symbols of the Four Evangelists
by Simachew Mesfin

Toward the end of my post on the Preface and Chapter 1 of Art as Culture: An Introduction to the Anthropology of Art, I mentioned a few of Hatcher's points regarding the meanings found in art objects.  She writes that there are five levels of meaning in art: subject, symbolic/iconographic, interpretation/theoretical, metaphor and ambiguity.  I'd like to compare and contrast these five levels with ideas presented in a forthcoming missions manual called Researching and Creating Together: How Local Artists Can Help Communities Reach their Kingdom Goals, which was the basis for a one week module on visual arts that I taught last year for a course at GIAL.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Asian Christ Mosaic

Until I get my next post finished, here's an interesting image I came across at this website featuring lots of Bible-related art from several different cultures and time periods.  Jesus sits upon a lotus flower, giving two mudras: His right hand showing the mudra of Abhaya, symbolizing protection, peace, benevolence, and dispelling of fear, while his left hand displays the Varada mudra, symbolizing ‘open-handed’ generosity such as charity or the granting of wishes.  Wikipedia writes that "it is nearly always shown made with the left hand by a revered figure devoted to human salvation from greed, anger and delusion."  Behind his head is a cross halo.  Fiery bands emanate from him, like an aureola.